Compass Box Delos
Blended — ScotlandReviewed February 27, 2023The weird question is if you have a youtube video and plan to release it early to patreon, is it wrong to write notes here? The answer is likely yes, but I'm having my second pour and I wanted to make notes, and this is easier. Nose - The nose is about what you'd expect. Rich fruits, vibrant toasted oak, and so much vanilla. Taste - Lets pause on flavor and talk about how rich and oily this is. Those 20+ year old first fill bourbon casks have worked their magic. Leaving this with buttery levels of oils and richness. Rich oily vanilla, over fresh toast, butter, then some white pepper and cinnamon join in with rich oak and orchard fruits. Delos is a wonderful example of light and softer malts and grains that were given quality first fill bourbon casks to impart rich sweetness. This is a wonderfully easy drinking and complex whisky, but 320 bucks? I can't recommend this one for the price unless you need all compass box bottles. Still, to get a piece of 20+ year old imperial does at least somewhat spark enough interest for me to have paid for it. 3.5 out of 5.320.0 USD per Bottle
Four Gate Batch 16 Rye DownUnder
Rye — Indiana , USAReviewed February 10, 2023I've been given way too many of these bottles and samples and haven't gotten my notes down on nearly enough. Anyway. Nose - So unlike batch 24 which is a high rye, this is much more fruity and approachable. Just sweet barely rye notes, which a high rye bourbon would have. Taste - Mint, rye, brown sugar, strong lasting oak. Simple great and yet kinda what you'd expect. I'm a few pour deep and my notes aren't the best here. Overall however this is a really nicely done whiskey. Great finish. Great mouth feel. Great body. That said sharp alcohol. Acidic. Comes off younger than an expectational whisky. But really, it's just too hot and too alcohol forward. This is what happens when you take GREAT casks to finish something but use younger product. I know fourgate's guys will say this cost xyz and so the price is fine. They're trying to justify secondary barrel prices, which aren't justifiable. They ARE overpaying! And we the consumer shouldn't have to pay for their mistake...but at the same time, they are doing MAGIC with these finishing's. And this is one of their best. 3.25 - this is a great overall experience. It's youngish. It's not epic. But it's a master class of blending and quality parts. If I'd bought I bottle at 200 I'd not be upset but I'd not buy one either.210.0 USD per Bottle
Four Gate Cask Strength Single Barrel (Mash & Journey)
Rye — USAReviewed February 10, 2023Place holder - I have a bottle and really like this but have a lot to say. Didn't realize someone added this. I think Jason was however right you need to REALLY let this open up.210.0 USD per Bottle
Old Carter Straight Bourbon Batch 14
Bourbon — USAReviewed February 5, 2023I've not been super impressed with this brand. Mostly too young of whisky for insane prices, but I was told this was special. Minimum 7-8 year 99% corn mash bill MGP finished in a second barrel. Nose - roasted coffee with dark chocolate over french vanilla icing. Just a lovely sweetness with some youthful corn coming through. Taste - There's this classic old carter profile that they seem to look for. It's almost vegetal tomato if that makes any sense. Actually, almost reminds me a bit of the chewy sprees once you get past the shell (not a fan). Roast coffee comes through here, but it's also got some bite and heat from the alcohol. A very nicely roasted character over the traditional younger MGP notes. Shocked that this is 99% corn, while I don't get much rye or anything like that, I don't always get that on younger MGP anyway. Overall, really nice step up from some of the past Old Carter batches, but I'm not about to drop 230 for my own bottle.230.0 USD per Bottle
Killowen 10 yr Peated Irish Cask
Blended Malt — IrelandReviewed February 4, 2023Nose - vanilla ice cream. As I dig in some peach and pear kinda sneaks in. Slight metallic spice and notes of a grain whisky. I recall a day when I'd have thought this was young, but it clearly it isn't. It's just that a mix of grain whiskey and pot still can really provide some youth notes for me or at least did. Taste - When I first got into these guy's stuff I was surprised it didn't contain 25 year old whisky and that it used so much grain whisky. This showcases that grain whisky and clearly illustrates how wine casks give this an older whisky profile. The peated casks obviously don't do this. Instead they give us a very fair and honest look at this blend. Wonderfully well aged, but not old whisky. Amazing vanilla quality leading way to earthy and just insanely complex finishing notes. A few drop of water. nose - richer more full bodied and less metalic pot still notes. The peat elements are coming out more as well. Rich earthy elements, not very smokey. Just earthy. taste - ok the water did bring out MORE grain and pot still bitter/sour. I can again see where a younger me would find this more "off". But this is really a showcase of blending of single malts and grain whiskies then aged to give these earthy notes. Nowhere close to the last Killowen I had, which was a master piece, but this is exceptional. The finish lasts 10x longer than say 99% of bourbons I own (and I own way better bourbon than average). The mouth feel is great, rich, oily, full. 3.5 star from me. I want to give it a higher score just to skew up the lower scores but I'd never do that. The bottom line. if you see this and you like grain whisky, peat, and pot still...you need to buy it instantly. If you don't like all 3...well you might second guess this one.90.0 USD per Bottle
Wild Turkey Bourbon 101
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed January 10, 2023So what do you do when you have what's widely seen as one of the best daily drinking, can mix, and be loved by geeks and novices alike bottles of bourbon? Well duh silly, you make a new label, put in vastly inferior juice, and hope nobody cares. Nose - mostly just vanilla. Some ethanol, some light oak, bit of toast. Perhaps some toffee, cream, cherries, vanilla. Look it's classic bourbon, just lacking any real depth, nuance, or well hint of age. Taste - this is where things go south fast. Where's the turkey character? Where's the funk? Where's the hints of at least some 6 year bourbon? What once was a catch all do all kind of entry level bottle now noses and tastes like a high quality mixer. You seriously will struggle tasting this to think wild turkey. All and all a travesty, but I can't say this is terrible bourbon. It's easy drinking for the proof and has a nice vanilla profile that'll mix well and isn't offensive. This seems like both a push to save money with youger bourbon and an attempt to repurpose this brand as a bar mixer vs dive bar safe sipper. An interesting, and decent entry level bottle, but for the love of Eddie Russel, don't call this wild turkey 101.
Four Gate Batch 21 Port Perry Perry
Rye — Indiana , USAReviewed December 30, 2022Quick sample review Nose - Berries over spicy rye. Rich, red berries all day here with christmas spice. Taste - A bit much alcohol note. Still huge body, big flavor, tones of spice, tones of vanilla, but then that berry and nice rye spice comes in. Bottom line this is a well made, really nice rye, but it has more spice than I care for with the levels of alcohol. Bottom line....wish it was another year or two older.
Oban 12 Year (2021 Special Release)
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed December 29, 2022Was going to do a video with this, but bought a bottle so I'll just write this and see what to do with the bottle. Nose - There's this element of savory, salty, and sweet here that's really interesting. Sometimes a younger malt can start to give off glue notes, barely, and some metallic elements. This one at first starts to hint we might be going down a bad path, but instantly takes a u-turn towards sweetness and a more clean and mature malt. Instead I think what we have here is a very earthy barely, light salt, over a touch of caramel, vanilla, and toffee. There might even be the ever so slightest touch of ginger spice. As it opens the nose shifts more to tart white fruits, white wine, now I'm distinctly getting short bread cookies (was thinking that earlier but now it's clear), orchard fruits. Really tart and fruity. Taste - Tart Lemon jumps right out, turning to white wine as you swallow, followed up with rich salty malt. Sugar cane and light vanilla icing try and sneak in. There's a mix of orchard fruits trying to get in but now working. There's on t[he finish an even so slight waxy note that's turning towards slight oak and the oak slowly builds as the finish lingers. I was told that there was a moment of soapy notes and yeah in the middle of this I get that. Well, this was a nicely done very classic malt. A bit odd, a bit different, but it mostly works. I'll give this a 2.0. It's a nice change of pace but as I tend to say. Get yourself an Oban 14 and move on.
Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon
Bourbon — Indiana, USAReviewed December 11, 2022Back again with another Cigar Blend. This time Batch 110. I'll get into the details. I will just drop, 280, 295 out the door. I hate to say it, but that's a fair price in today's market where these are just not obtainable. I even consider the store owner a friend and he gives me discounts OFTEN, we both knew this wasn't getting a discount. I did ask if he'd knock a few off if I opened it and we had a glass, but no go. Oh well lol. But I'm going to do this differently. I have 3 cigar blends in the glasses. I'm going to compare them. Going forward we have sample A B and C. I do think A is the new one but I'm not 100%. This is simi blind. The focus is not on my notes but why they are different. Nose - A gives me a very generic and kinda dull notes among this group. Saw dust, hints of fall leaves and cinnamon. Extremely middling in terms of boldness or richness. Very easy and approachable. Underwhelming. B comparatively is a huge fruit bomb. This is what I want from a finish cask. There's less of that dusty oak and heavy dried cinnamon. I should add A was very dry. C comes off more candied. More sweetness, almost dare I use marzipan (a term never acceptable with bourbon) to just give context to how much more this is a sweet marshmallow dram compared to the others. This however lingers much more towards A in over all profile. Taste - A - Not that good? So I get a nice sweetness reminding me of a 6-7 year old MGP, certainly the 21% rye. I get some apple notes maybe barton notes? Mouth feel is sold. Body is rich. More citrus and say lime sugar water than I'd expect. B - Oh mamma, I'm doing backflips tasting this one. Big BOLD tobacco, spice, dark fruits. This is freaking outstanding. I know i"m not to the finish but sorry...another wow. C - While no B, this is wonderful. Rich sweetness, with solid transition, good oak, good spice, a bit less of the tobacco and what not but it's doing very well. Just an overall full and well rounded experience. Finish/Other A - I get an almost nutty young MGP here, and it really is noticed on the finish. Similarly, i get an old carter bourbon/MGP note which I've often said was almost a vegetable tomato note (and yes I'm aware they are a fruit which justifies the qualifier). B - This is reminding me of a great four roses on the finish. Big bold spices following up amazing spice.Nancy here somehow crafted a finished version of MGP that brings out four roses's best elements and adds to them. If this was the only bourbon I got to drink again, I'd be more than pleased. C - The finish is sold, quality, nice bourbon. I really like how what I expect are barton and MGP notes playing together and dancing around on the finish. OK - What were they? A - 110 B - 42 C - 28 Well I just reveled my ignorance. B to me is 100% a blend of 36 and 21 MGP rye and C is barton and MGP. Ok I just went back to the bottle to do a test and I am 100% sure I flipped B and C. Sorry for the alarm. I haven't lost my ability to taste. A - 110 B - 28 C - 42 I could edit this but I wanted this to be as raw as a video would be. OK - so what did we learn from that? Well I think I took away about 3-4 things. 1. The loss of that 36% MGP rye mash bill bourbon hurts these whiskies for MY personal profile. That's out of anyone's power at Magnus. 2. I get less impact from the cask finishing on these than I'd thought. I say this as the mash bill's and the impact of the bourbons are REALLY easy to pick out in general. Heavier and more aggressive cask influence could have made that a bit more challenging. That said I don't think of these casks in general as over powering. 3. I don't think the 110 stands up at all to past batches. If these aren't younger MGP casks, MGP is putting out worse and worse casks that people are sourcing and I'm glad I'm not in Nancy's role trying to find a way to use these. 110 - Just this whisky I've always though of Cigar Blend best as a wonderful fall days, outside, near a barn, and a place where you'd love to have a cigar and a bourbon. Well it's that perfect weather for me right now. 45-50 degree day, I'm at home but in my head I'm right there at a childhood friend's house which was on a farm. When I nose this, instead of going back there, I feel more tropical, more lime, more fruity vs earthy and fall leaves. While cinnamon sticks come through and even so faint hints of perhaps leather are here, I'm mostly smelling cinnamon sticks, light vanilla, and earthy husky oak. Refined to a degree for sure, but showing what seems like slight hints of youth and immaturity in the blend. Dried and slightly unsweat red fruits with some hints of savory come through. Touches of powdered sugar slip in followed by sharp oak. Taste - I'm taken right back into some of my least favor yet still complex MGP bottles. So much so that instead of trying to finish this review neat, I'm moving forwards water. Sadly water takes me nowhere new. It's a full flavored and rich whisky, but I can't get past these notes I don't like and I can only associate with 7-10 year MGP, a range where MGP confuses me and nearly always disappoints. Is it possible the finishing cask wasn't as wet as in the past? Was there just younger MGP than normal here? I feel terrible with the score I'm about to give because I'm such a fan of this brand, because I love everything about what Nancy means to this community, to her professionalism, and frankly i feel I must be wrong to score her work so poorly, and it doesn't help knowing she'll read this. 2.5 stars. 2 stars is average whisky. 3 stars is wonderful stuff for about 100 bucks. 4 stars is getting into the special zone 300-400. 5 stars are unicorns that nearly don't exist. I'll go back to this in a few months and I hope for a changed whisky, but this is my 3rd session with this one and now after comparing it to two bottle I really enjoyed, this isn't in the same league. A final note - I read Nancy's tasting notes before buying this and went in with real concerns. I also went in excited to try something that sounded off my normal profile for these. So please note, they were transparent with that this might come off different from what I wanted, if you read the online notes. So by no means feel bad for me and a disappointing 280 dollar purchase. I received fair warning through very well written and put together notes. The youthful MGP notes driving some of those flavors is perhaps my one complaint. But looking back...I'm not that shocked I feel there's younger stuff in here. And of course, I'm sure Nancy will tell me it's all 18 year plus MGP :) and I'm just bad at this whisky reviewing. Give me another decade and I'm sure I'll be a bit better all! Sorry again Nancy, but batch 110 doesn't come off as old stately bourbon. It's missing the markets for me but it's still tasty stuff and I still enjoyed trying a different spin on the brand, but I'd have been happier with a bar pour than a bottle.280.0 USD per Bottle
Redbreast 21 Year
Single Pot Still — IrelandReviewed November 16, 2022I've been putting this off for too long, finally seeing these now at 400 in the states, I grabbed one for about 220 in the UK. Nose - good lordy, I'm happy. This is a sherry finished joy to nose. Sherry gives off dark fruits almost tranistioning into grapges (which is my favorite note when I'm in a sherry finished product). Now I just realized I'm not sure if this is a blend of bourbon casks and sherry or finished, but whatever. Big huge grape and blue berries really are dominating over some tropical fruits (pineapple?) and this chocolate toasted malt thing that every irish gives me to some degree. In my Donald Rance voice, bloody good! Taste - Jammy dark fruits, huge spicy finish. Just a big big bold whisky at 46%. The mix of spice, lovely irish pot still, and up front sherry is lovely. It's long lasting. It lingers. I was thinking a 4.25 earlier today but right now this is drinking a bit lower. I'll have to come back but lets put this at a 4.0 for now. I think higher of this than that score so I expect I'll be raising the score.220.0 USD per Bottle
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